© 2024 WFAE

Mailing Address:
8801 J.M. Keynes Dr. Ste. 91
Charlotte NC 28262
Tax ID: 56-1803808
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Young @ Heart'

The octogenarians in the Young@Heart Singers — a sort of elder-punk concert group around which Stephen Walker has built this irresistible documentary — arrive on stage with walkers and canes. Once they get to the microphone, though, they sound a lot like teenagers.

Well, sort of. They shriek lyrics with a lot more clarity than teenagers generally do, in a repertoire ranging from James Brown to Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay to Radiohead to The Clash. The group's geriatrock stylings are often amusing, and indeed, the central conceit sounds like an extended joke.

But it cuts both ways. The song "Staying Alive" certainly resonates more piquantly when sung by these folks than it did by the Bee Gees. And who better than a group of 71- to- 92-year-olds to bring a nursing-home knowingness to the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated"?

Walker formats the film predictably, letting us get to know a few of the singers during a six-month buildup to a big concert. That two of them die within a week of each other lends another sort of resonance to the event. But no one knows better than the singers that life goes on — and consequently, so does the concert.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.